I've seen it written - DON'T USE BABY TALK!  I agree with that statement.  However, many mothers think "baby talk" is the natural intonation pattern that mother's use with children and so they simply talk to their child like the baby is an adult.  The problem with that is that the baby is NOT an adult.  So, let's clear some things up.

Baby Talk is using nonsense words for real items.  We all do it.  "Do you want your Baba?"  Hmmm... what is that?  Is a Baba a blanket, bottle, or favorite lamb?  We should always strive to be the best language model for our kids.  That means that we should use the real words.  Why would we teach our child "baba" to only change it down the road to "bottle"?  I know, I know, I know... it's cute.  It's definitely cute when a two year old says "baba" and we want to encourage that language.  So, when your child says, "baba" and holds out his/her hands, then respond with, "Oh sure, Suzy!  Here's your bottle."  Always acknowledge that your child are communicating (because he/she is), but use the proper word.

Now, what's this about "motherese"?  Most of you have probably never heard the term, but you use it everyday.  Motherese is the natural high-intonation, slow pattern of talk that mother's use with children.  If you're not sure what I'm talking about, just pay attention the next time you talk to a child or a beloved pet.  Motherese is actually important for kids to hear.  It encourages them to copy your speech and teaches them variable intonations (high and low pitches) that are used during conversation.  You may sound or feel silly, but keep talking in that silly voice.  It's actually encouraging your child to speak and communicate!



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